Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Best Valentine's Day EVER!

Last year on Valentine's Day Brian and I had lunch at Marie Callendar's because the kids were with their dad for the morning. He bought me a ton of cute socks - which if you know me was a very cool gift! Then we took a pie home to his mom, who I met for the first time that day. We had been dating less than two months. It was a good date.

Yesterday couldn't have been more different! We got on the Metrolink in Rialto at a few minutes before 9 a.m. with my three girls, three jackets, two booster car seats, and one giant overnight bag. We got in to Union Station and caught the Metro Red line to 7th Street. From there we took the Metro Blue line to Imperial/Wilmington/Rosa Parks. We took the Metro Green line from there to Redondo Beach. We got there around noon. My aunt was planning to meet us to pick up the girls but she wasn't going to be there for a bit and we were hungry. So we walked to the only place within sight, a place called Tommy's if I recall correctly, and lucky for us it was actually pretty good. We had "lunch-fast" as we renamed it because it seemed a little late to call it brunch, and neither of us grown ups had eaten breakfast. Barbie met us there and picked up the girls. Brian and I got back on the train around one and made our way back into L.A.

We got off at Union Station and walked through admiring the building. It is really quite beautiful. I had never been to Olvera Street which I realize, having lived in Southern California my whole life, is pretty pathetic. We wandered the marketplace, and walked through the oldest house in Los Angeles. It is always amazing to me to be in a place like that where you can feel the weight of the history. There were people who's lives revolved around that home so many years ago, and here I am walking on the same wood floor. Not to mention it had the feel of what inspired my dad to design our house the way he did... it was amazing! We also watched a group of Native American dancers in full costumes with beautiful head pieces dancing and beating drums.

We walked a ways and stopped in at the Japanese American National Museum. I had heard that the government forced many Japanese Americans into camps in the 40's. In my education of that historical time I had a very antiseptic understanding of those events. In fact I think the only reason I knew anything about it at all was because of the reparations that were paid in the late 80's. I don't think my public school education ever taught me a thing about the atrocities the United States perpetuated on its own people. I was moved, and disgusted, and then inspired. These people lost everything. Most lost all of their money because they banked with Japanese banks that were seized by the government. Those who didn't have much money lost their homes because they couldn't work to continue paying for them. Those who didn't own homes lost their jobs and all of them lost their community. Even once they were released from the camps, with $25 and a buss pass, many didn't know where to go. The attitude of the American People against them was terrifying to them and they were afraid to go back to where they came from. For all their trouble, the government - nearly 50 years later, sent an apology letter and a $20,000 check to each of them. Yet, even after all they were put through, the gentleman at the museum who had lived through it was not angry. He had moved beyond it. You know it struck me that I learned an awful lot about how bad Nazi Germany was for rounding up the Jews but apparently our government things we're better because our camps didn't have gas chambers... I mean I guess that is a step up if we're qualifying atrocities.

After that museum we tried to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is right next door, but it is closed until the end of June or something. So we walked, and walked, and walked some more. We passed through Little Tokyo, we saw City Hall and Parker Center, Disney Concert Hall, the Courts, and the prison - which I must say has a pretty fancy look about it for a prison - about a million other things too... then we walked through the Los Angeles Public Library. That place is fantastic! It would take a month to do even a decent job of exploring the whole Library. They have the most phenomenal children's section! I can't wait to take the kids for story time in their puppet theater!

By the time we finished at the library I was pretty much beat. We had been on 7 trains and walked about a hundred miles, uphill all the way... ok, obviously not a hundred but my feet were pretty convinced it was close to that. So we jumped on the train at Pershing Square and got back on the Metrolink at Union Station. My head decided to try to explode. It provided me with one of those headaches that makes you wonder if you might die or at very least projectile vomit in the most inappropriate of places. We got off the train in Rialto, Brian drove us back to my house (with me whimpering in the fetal position the whole way) and I took a handful of various pills in an attempt to dull the throbbing ache in my head. Three advil and two tylenol and a half hour later I was starting to feel relief. Brian called in an order for dinner to Lucille's BBQ (oh, yummmy!!!) and went to work on my head. He has magic in his fingers I swear! He worked out all the knots in my shoulders, neck and head. By the time we needed to leave to go pick up our dinner I felt 100% again!

We walked past the THRONGS of people waiting to eat on Valentine's Day, picked up our dinner and left. (Ha, ha suckers!!! :)) We made a quick stop at Target in search of wine because BevMo was closed. I decided I wanted to try Sangria so we grabbed that and headed home. Dinner was amazing, there are leftovers for tonight! Oh, and Sangria is yummy too! We started to watch a movie, and true to form I was asleep way before it ended... Ok, I might have been asleep by the time the opening credits were done I'm not entirely sure... but it was an awesome day! I can't wait to go back to L.A. with the kids sometime too.

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